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Balance Transfer

Santander Sphere® Credit Card Balance Transfer Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Santander Bank, N.A. is not accepting credit card applications at this time.

Santander is looking to shake up the balance transfer market by offering a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening (after, 14.74% to 24.74% Variable APR). In order to get this rate, you have to apply for the Sphere® Credit Card from Santander and transfer debt from another bank to Santander (you cannot transfer debt from another Santander product). In addition, you will have to pay a balance transfer fee at $10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. Depending upon the interest rate that you are currently paying, this may be worth it, but beware there are cards with lower or intro $0 balance transfer fees.

Take note that this card is only available to people who live in: CT, DC, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, or VT.

They also offer rewards and a bonus off for your spending, which you should avoid, because interest will start accruing right away.

If you have high interest rate credit card debt, this could be an excellent option to pay off your debt faster. Just make sure you complete your balance transfer as quickly as possible. We also recommend that you set up an automatic payment, so that you always pay on time. If you are 60 days late, you can lose your 0% rate and be subject to punitive pricing.

Who is Santander?

Although small in the United States, Santander is an enormous bank globally. It is headquartered in Spain, and rapidly grew throughout Latin America and Europe. The bank has over $1.25 trillion of assets globally, and dominates the Spanish market. You don’t have to walk far in Madrid or Barcelona to see the bright red of Santander.

They are also a big sponsor of Formula 1, and the bank is run by a close-knit family.

Santander has a very aggressive reputation in banking circles. I used to work in Europe, and Santander was viewed as a very tough competitor. They would use very strong sales incentives, so customers would regularly be on the receiving end of a hard sales pitch. They would also take a much longer term view compared to American and English banks. Whereas most American banks want to make money within 1-2 years on a new customer, Santander would be willing to wait longer. That meant they would usually fund much more aggressive switching bonuses.

Santander has purchased Sovereign Bank, a regional bank in the northeast. They have recently rebranded the business to the global red brand, and are looking to expand. Credit cards is a great way to grow quickly outside of their normal geographic footprint, so you can expect to see more offers coming from them.

So, Santander is a large bank that won’t be going anywhere soon. However, they are an aggressive bank with strong profit motives. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of the sign-on bonus offers. But, you should be careful when the bonus offer ends.

The Balance Transfer Offer

The balance transfer offer is very straight-forward — 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening (after, 14.74% to 24.74% Variable APR). There is a balance transfer fee at $10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater

In order to be approved, you need to have excellent/good credit. You will also need a debt burden that can handle the debt. You calculate debt burden by taking your total monthly expenditures (mortgage + auto payment + student loan payments + credit card monthly payments + any other credit bureau debt) and divide that by your monthly gross income. Your best chance of being approved is with a debt burden below 40%. You have to tell Santander your income when you apply.

To see how much you can save, and how it compares to other offers (updated daily), visit our balance transfer marketplace.

promo-balancetransfer-wide

The Rewards

As a general rule, you do not want to spend on a credit card with a balance transfer. There are two main reasons for this.

First, the goal of a balance transfer is to pay off your debt. So, if you start spending on the credit card, there is a big risk that you won’t pay off debt during the promotional period, and you will end up in worse shape at the end of the promotional period. Just put the card in the freezer and forget about it.

The second reason is the trick played on people by the banks. If you have a balance transfer on a credit card, than you no longer have a grace period on purchases. So, interest will be charged on any purchases, at the standard purchase interest rate, from the moment you make the purchase.

If you are looking for rewards, there are better products out there. This card earns 1 reward point for every dollar spent, with no limits. To find a better cash back credit card, you can use our cash back tool.

The Recommendation

If you have credit card debt that you can’t pay off in the next 6 months, a balance transfer could be a great option. If you’re looking for rewards or to make a big purchase, there are other, better credit cards available.

If your debt is not with Chase, and you can pay off the debt in 15 months or less, you should consider Chase Slate®. It has 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months (17.24% - 25.99% Variable APR, afterwards), and an Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater. This can be a better deal than Santander.

The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Another  option is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card which provides more time to pay off debt. This card offers an intro 0%* for 18 months on Balance Transfers*, afterwards the APR will be  15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable). The balance transfer fee is 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. For example, transferring $10,000 to this card will incur a $500 fee. That’s $100 more than Santander’s offer and something to consider.

If it is going to take much longer, than this card can be a great option to dramatically reduce the cost of your debt and get out of debt faster. Just make sure you don’t spend on the card, you pay on time and you get the transfer done within the first 30 days.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at [email protected]

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Balance Transfer, Pay Down My Debt

The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Before you read on, click here to download our FREE guide to become debt free forever!

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Updated – March 20, 2019

Digging out of credit card debt can feel frustrating, intimidating and ultimately impossible. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be any of those things if you learn how to take control.

Paying down debt is not only about finding the right financial tools, but also the right psychological ones. You need to understand why you racked up credit card debt in the first place. Perhaps it was a medical emergency or a home repair that needed to be taken care of immediately. Maybe you’d already drained your emergency fund on one piece of bad luck when misfortune struck again. Or maybe you’re struggling with a compulsive shopping problem, so paying down debt will likely result in you accumulating more until the addiction is addressed.

You also need to understand what motivates you to succeed. Do you want to pay down your credit card debt in the absolute fastest amount of time possible that will save more money or do you want to take some little wins along the way to keep yourself motivated?

Here’s a couple strategies consider as you learn the best way to handle credit card debt — and pay it off quickly.

2 common credit card debt repayment strategies

These repayment strategies can help you pay off credit card debt quickly. Keep in mind, you can use these strategies even for non-credit-card debt:

  • Debt avalanche: Focus on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate first. Then, work your way down. This strategy can save you money on interest and get you out of debt sooner.
  • Debt snowball: Pay off your smallest debts first. Doing so can motivate you to continue making payments as you climb out of debt.

You don’t necessarily need to pick the repayment strategy that gets you out of debt the fastest. After all, if your repayment strategy doesn’t keep you motivated, you may not stick to it.

Using a personal loan or balance transfer credit card

As you seek to repay your debt, you could consider a personal loan or balance transfer credit card with a lower interest rate than on your existing debt. Transferring your debt to one of these financial products could help you reduce long-term interest costs.

But you’ll first need to learn whether or not you’re eligible. Your credit score will play a big role in determining your eligibility for a personal loan or balance transfer card. Use our widget below to figure out if a personal loan or a balance transfer is the best option for you!

What’s the best option for me?

Please enter information below and we’ll provide the best option to consolidate your credit card debt!

If you have a credit score above 640, you have a good chance of qualifying for a personal loan at a much lower interest rate than your credit card debt. With new internet-only personal loan companies, you can shop for loans without hurting your score. In just a few minutes, with a simple online form, you can get matched with multiple lenders. People with excellent credit can see APRs below 10%. But even if your credit isn’t perfect, you might be able to find a good loan to fit your needs.

Not sure what your credit score is? Click here to learn how and where to find out. If you know your credit score needs some work but not sure of what can be done, click here.

If you have a score above 700, you could also qualify for 0% balance transfer offers. We will talk more about balance transfers below but this option is the best way to pay off credit card debt if you’re able to qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer credit card.

A credit score of less than 600 will make it difficult for you to qualify for either option. If you have a credit score less than 640, struggling to make monthly debt payments and would like to explore your options to reduce your debt by up to 50%, then please click our option below to customize a personal debt relief plan.

Custom Debt Relief Plan

Now let’s talk about the financial tools to add to your debt repayment strategy in order to dig out of the hole.

Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt, and are stuck paying 18% interest on it.

You already know that putting as much spare cash as you can toward paying down your debt is the most important thing to do. But once you’ve done that, so what’s next?

Use your good credit to make banks compete and cut your rates

You could save $1,800 a year in interest and lower your monthly payments based on several of the rates available today. That means you could pay it off almost 20% faster.

Here’s how it works.

Option One: Use a Balance Transfer (or Multiple Balance Transfers)


If you trust yourself to open a new credit card but not spend on it, consider a balance transfer. You may be able to cut your rate with a long 0% intro APR. You need to have a good credit score, and you might not get approved for the full amount that you want to transfer.

Your own bank might not give you a lower rate (or only drop it by a few percent), but there are lots of competing banks that may want to steal the business and give you a better rate.

Discover it® Balance Transfer

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Balance Transfer

Annual fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3%
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

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on Barclays’s secure website

Terms & Conditions

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Regular Purchase APR
14.24% Variable
Intro BT APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 14.24% APR will apply.
Balance Transfer Fee
Promotional Balance Transfers that post to your account within 45 days of account opening: Either $5 or 2% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

The information related to Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

Intro Purchase APR
0% for 18 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers
Regular Purchase APR
13.74%-27.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

MagnifyMoney regularly surveys the market to find the best balance transfer credit cards. If you would like to see what other options exist, beyond Chase and Discover, you can start there.

promo-balancetransfer-halfIt also has tips to make sure you do a balance transfer safely. If you follow them you’ll save thousands on your debt by remaining disciplined.

You might be scared of a balance transfer, but there is no faster way to cut your interest payments than taking advantage of the best 0% or low interest deals banks are offering.

Thanks to recent laws, balance transfers aren’t as sneaky as they used to be, and friendlier for helping you cut your debt.

Sometimes the first bank you deal with won’t give you a big enough credit line to handle all your credit card debt. Maybe you’ll get a $5,000 credit line for a 0% deal, but have $10,000 in debt. That’s okay. In that case, apply for the next best balance transfer deal you see. MagnifyMoney’s list of deals makes it easy to sort them.

Banks are okay with you shopping around for more than one deal.

Option Two: Personal Loan

If you never want to see another credit card again, you should consider a personal loan. You can get prequalified at multiple lenders without hurting your credit score, and find the best deal to pay off your debt faster.

Personal loan interest rates are often about 10-20%, but can sometimes be as low as 5-6% if you have very good credit.

Moving from 18% interest on a credit card to 10% on a personal loan is a good deal for you. You’ll also get one set monthly payment, and pay off the whole thing in 3 to 5 years.

Sometimes this may mean a higher monthly payment than you’re used to, but you’re better off putting your cash toward a higher payment with a lower rate.

And you’ll get out of debt months or years faster by leaving more money to pay down the debt itself. If you want to shop for a personal loan, we recommend starting at LendingTree. With a single online form, dozens of lenders will compete for your business. Only a soft credit pull is completed, so your credit score will not be harmed. People with excellent scores can see low APRs (sometimes below 6%). And people with less than perfect scores still have a good chance of finding a lender to approve them.

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If you don’t want to shop at LendingTree, you can see our list of the best personal loans here.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at [email protected]

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Balance Transfer

5 Things to Do Once Your Balance Transfer is Complete

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Now that you’ve been approved for a balance transfer card and completed your transfer, you’re on your way to becoming debt-free. The lingering debt you had on another credit card will no longer be charged high interest rates during the 0% intro APR period on your new card. However, you won’t rid yourself of debt by simply transferring your balance — there’s much more you’ll need to do.

Your journey to becoming debt free has just begun. By following the steps below, you can soon be on your way to a healthier financial life.

Discover it® Balance Transfer

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Annual fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3%
Regular APR
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Terms & Conditions

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Regular Purchase APR
14.24% Variable
Intro BT APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 14.24% APR will apply.
Balance Transfer Fee
Promotional Balance Transfers that post to your account within 45 days of account opening: Either $5 or 2% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

The information related to Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

Intro Purchase APR
0% for 18 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers
Regular Purchase APR
13.74%-27.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

5 things you need to do once your balance transfer is complete:

1. Cut up your new card.

New purchases will only push you back into debt. While it may be tempting to use your new card for purchases, resist the urge. Charging new purchases to your balance transfer card has the potential to further increase your debt.

Purchases may not qualify for that 0% intro APR. New purchases will often be charged the card’s standard interest rate, unless your new balance transfer card also offers a 0% intro APR period for purchases.

Payments made on your new card may not go fully towards new purchases. Credit card issuers have the freedom to allocate your minimum payment towards whatever debt you have. This means that your minimum payment may go towards your balance with the 0% intro APR, not your newest charges. This may lead you to rack up interest charges from your new purchase balance.

What if you need to charge new purchases to a credit card after a balance transfer? First, take a real hard look at the expense and whether it’s actually necessary. If you’re already looking to rack up new credit debt so soon after completing a balance transfer, there may be a bigger spending issue at play here.

Try to pay for the item in cash, so you won’t have to worry about racking up additional debt.

As a last resort, we’d suggest using your old credit card to pay for new purchases. All payments you make will go towards your balance — no need to worry about where the payment goes. Beware if you carry a balance you will be charged the standard purchase APR. So, any charges that you do make on your old card should be paid in full before the statement due date.

2. Don’t close your old credit card.

You could hurt your credit score if you do. You may be tempted to close the card you transferred debt from, but cancelling an old card can do more damage than good. It’s more beneficial to keep your old card open, since the average length of your credit history is a big factor of your credit score — and the longer your credit history, the better.

While opening a new card lowers your average length of credit history, it doesn’t lower it as much as closing your old card would. For example, if your old card has been open for 10 years, and you open a new balance transfer card, the average length of your credit history will be five years. But, if you closed your old account, it would drop to less than a year — which is a big difference.

Closing your old card would also hurt your utilization rate. This is an even bigger factor in your credit score. Utilization is the amount of your total credit limit you use — so, if you spend $2,000 a month across two credit cards with a combined limit of $8,000, your utilization would be 25%.

3. Set up autopay — and pay more than the minimum due.

Autopay is a great feature that can prevent you from missing payments and incurring late fees. It’s also a helpful way to set up automatic payments that are greater than the minimum due — which can lead to a significant reduction in your debt, since paying only the minimum due isn’t enough to rid yourself of debt.

Once you figure out how much you can afford to put towards your debt each month, set up autopay for that amount — like, say, $200 — and watch your debt decrease. You can always adjust your autopay settings to higher or lower amounts, as needed.

4. Set a calendar reminder for two months before your balance transfer expires.

If you don’t pay off your balance before the intro period ends, any balance remaining will be charged the standard interest rate. Some cards may also charge you all the interest you accrued and didn’t pay during the intro period — called deferred interest. Though this is uncommon with cards from major credit card issuers, it’s something to keep in mind if you think you may continue to carry a balance post intro period.

We understand you may not be able to pay off your balance during the intro period, and that’s okay. You still have options to avoid accruing interest. One option is to apply for a new balance transfer card, so you can take advantage of another 0% intro APR period. Just remember that balances can’t be transferred between cards from the same issuer.

The other option is to take out a personal loan. You can consolidate debt from your credit card by taking out a personal loan that often has lower interest rates and more flexible credit requirements than balance transfer credit cards. Compare personal loan offers here.

5. Start budgeting.

You just completed a balance transfer, so the odds are you may not have the best financial management skills — but that’s okay. You can still take steps towards managing your finances by creating a budget, and it can be as simple or as detailed as you like. There are several different types of budgets that you can do, like the penny tracker or the “leftovers” spender, that can help you take control of your spending — and there are plenty of free budgeting apps that you can compare here.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]

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